Preliminary Study of Lead-Contaminated Drinking Water in Public Parks-An Assessment of Equity and Exposure Risks in Two Texas Communities. Academic Article uri icon


  • Safe drinking water is celebrated as a public health achievement and is a top priority for the Environmental Protection Agency. Yet today, lead (Pb) contaminated drinking water has the potential to be a public health crisis in the United States. Despite efforts to provide safe drinking water, update water infrastructure, and ensure strict drinking water regulations, there are incidents of unsafe lead levels and reports of associated adverse health effects. While there has been increased attention paid to the quality of drinking water within individuals' homes, little research has examined the presence and concentration of lead in water from drinking fountain sources located in public parks. In this study, we sampled drinking water from every accessible public park in the Bryan/College Station (BCS), TX metropolitan area (N = 56). With a lower detection level of 2.0 μg/L, we discovered a mean lead concentration of 1.3 μg/L across all sites and a maximum of 8.0 μg/L. Furthermore, neighborhoods below the median income for BCS were twice as likely to have detectable lead levels in their water and had 1.5 times the mean concentration. This study underscores the need for action and supports previous studies that have identified a disparate burden to lead exposure among low socioeconomic populations within the United States. By examining the water quality in drinking fountains in publicly accessible parks, the results of our study provide public health professionals with important information about where infrastructure should be improved and the potential harms of lead in drinking fountain water.

published proceedings

  • Int J Environ Res Public Health

author list (cited authors)

  • Fawkes, L., & Sansom, G

citation count

  • 0

complete list of authors

  • Fawkes, Leanne||Sansom, Garett

publication date

  • June 2021